Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Charlotte City Council approves rezoning, bringing schools and housing to busy Ballantyne area


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – New schools are coming to the Ballantyne area by 2024 to help with overcrowding.

A new elementary school will be built across from Ardrey Kell High School, and a new high school will be about three miles from there.

Charlotte City Council approved the re-zoning petitions on Monday, allowing these projects to move forward.

Both schools will also be built alongside mixed-use housing development projects, due to a partnership between CMS and Woodfield Development.

Many people living near Ardrey Kell Road tell WBTV they are already concerned about traffic.

Some tell WBTV they are now worried about the increase in density and cars from not only a new elementary school, but more than 300 units of housing.

“The school is really needed and we’re happy the school is coming,” Kristen, a parent living near Ardrey Kell Road told WBTV.

She has a daughter who will be able to attend the new elementary school.

But she is also concerned about traffic, considering the 347 units of multi-family housing that will sit alongside that elementary school.

“There’s probably two cars for every apartment so we’re adding 800 more cars to a road that’s already busy all the time,” she said.

City council member Ed Driggs, who represents District 7, shares in her concerns. It’s why he voted against the petition.

“I voted against it as a protest against CMS tying the delivery of their school to our approval of their apartments,” he said. “I didn’t think it was appropriate that they made that connection and put us under that pressure.”

Driggs did not think the project should move forward as planned, but he is pleased the Zoning Committee was able to make some positive changes like adding a recreation center and green space, increasing the affordable housing commitment to 15% of the units, reducing the height from four to three stories and reducing the unit count from 474 to 349.

Amy Van Bramer just moved into a house that backs up to the property where this housing project will be located.

She and her husband are strategizing on how to keep their backyard private and considering taller trees to line the property.

”I think a big part of it is going to be privacy and safety,” Van Bramer said.

Her next door neighbor Sam Campagna has lived off of Ardrey Kell for more than 11 years.

He says affordable housing is important for the city, but feels the infrastructure to support it is not in this area.

He says there is no access to public transportation.

“There’s no one that walks anywhere, there aren’t sidewalks,” Campagna said. “People are gonna have to drive, so that’s gonna add people to the road. I look around here, and where are they gonna work? Are they gonna work at the two shopping centers?”

Neighbors are also hopeful for the widening of Ardrey Kell Road from two to four lanes to account for additional traffic.

According to state plans, widening may not happen until 2030 at the earliest.

Council member Driggs was the only member to vote against the rezoning. Several other members said they are proud of the changes made by the zoning committee to reduce the footprint and potential impacts of this project before approving it.

Copyright 2022 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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